Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat Review

We all love cars here at Autosavant, and some of us also love very small people that ride in our cars. Therefore –

By Victoria Mason

01.22.2008

Buying a car seat can be confusing and daunting task for many parents. When my daughter outgrew her infant car seat, I knew I was in for quite the task. There is a lot to consider when buying a car seat. Do you want a convertible car seat or a seat that works for only one stage of the child’s life? Is safety or price guiding your decision? There are as many car seat options as there are rules and guidelines to remember when buying one. Who is the best manufacturer? Does the size of my car factor in? Your mind reels and you begin to feel overwhelmed. Parents need to figure out what is most important to them and work from there. When it was my turn, I just wanted a car seat that was safe, would stand the test of time and my child. The Britax Marathon is a very popular convertible car seat. Being a product reviewer, I had to check it out.

First, ask yourself how much depth and width do you need and/or want in a car seat. The Marathon is great in both these departments. It is 9 inches deep and 11 inches in width. As a convertible car seat, it does double duty. It can handle children weighing five to thirty-three pounds as a rear-facing seat and upwards of sixty-five pounds as a forward facing one. When buying a forward-facing car seat one needs to remember that the seat should last until your child is about four years old or over sixty-five pounds depending on your state’s guidelines. As an example of a typical forward-facing car seat, Graco’s ComfortSport convertible car seat can only handle up to forty pounds, which seems to be an industry average. The car seat will be in the car most of the time so weight you might have to lift should not really factor in your decision. For many parents the Marathon is an ideal forward-facing seat. And this is the biggest reason for its popularity as well. It has a high back (24.5 inches) and a roomy seat. It offers the greatest width of any child car seat to date with 1.5 inches more shoulder room. The child feels as if they are finally part of the family in the Marathon. My daughter took to it like Captain Kirk took to his captain’s chair. It seemed heavy at 16.5 pounds, but when I realized it is primarily a stationary seat, I no longer viewed this as a problem.

The Marathon is a full-featured car seat meaning it has some unique features. The sculpted base secures well and fits easily into many vehicles. A car seat should never jut out beyond the seats in your vehicle. The base on the Marathon has a push button release LATCH system with patented Versa-Tether that allows for quick installation. In only minutes and with minimal effort you can install the Marathon. It took me less than ten minutes, and I have never been able to master the art of putting a car seat in a car. However, the first time I had to put the Marathon into my in-laws vehicle I had no trouble removing it or placing it into their car. It was almost intuitive and very logical. There is also the one-handed recline feature. It is hard enough driving with an upset child in the car, and therefore, it’s important that the one handed recline is simple to use even if you are driving. Britax knew what they were doing when they created this feature. It must have been the same day that they decided to create not just one cover, but multiple fashionable car seat covers at moderate prices that are also easy to remove and washable. The ability to remove a car seat cover quickly and wash it is heaven-sent. “Is it washable?”, is one of the first questions a parent asks when purchasing any type of baby gear. If it is, the product sells. What’s more, Britax has added a belly pad and foam (aptly called comfort foam) for additional comfort. My child is not only safe but she is secure and happy in this car seat.

If it is possible to fall in love with a piece of child safety equipment then I did. I fell hard too. The Velcro stays on the sides of the seat are a thing of beauty. This is by far my favorite feature on the Marathon. The stays hold the harness straps in place so that your child does not end up sitting on the straps or tangled in them while you wrestle the tot into place. It is a wonder to me that more seats do not come with this feature. There are multiple slots, four in total, on the back of the seat to re-position the straps as the child grows. Each strap contains a sliding pad so that they do not rub on the child’s neck. The polyester webbing of the straps is strong and the chest clip comfortable. If an accident did occur, I feel confident that the five-point harness straps combined with Britax’s Patented “Floating” HUGS System would keep my child safe. The HUGS System distributes the seats strap loads to reduce head movement and minimize the chance of the straps edges digging into the child’s neck. The HUGS System reduces the chance of improper positioning of the chest clip as well. While one can never be too careful or guarantee anything the Britax Marathon has stood the test of time and numerous safety tests.

The Marathon by Britax is just one of many car seats manufactured by Britax, but to me it is the ideal one. It is one durable and sturdy convertible car seat, and just as importantly, it is also easy to use. That last fact alone ensures that it will be in use at our house for years to come. The snugness of the harness combined with the Marathon’s comfort, versatility and safety record make it the best seller that it is today. I find the Marathon as a whole package a tough combination to beat. I have total piece of mind in the Britax Marathon. While some may say that the $299 price tag is steep, I say you get what you pay for and the Marathon is worth every penny. Now if only Britax could just figure out a way to make the Marathon crumb repellent.

Victoria Mason is a freelance writer and product reviewer based in the DC Metro area. She writes frequently for DC Metros Moms, Moms Speak Up and the blogs, Mummy’s Product Reviews and The Mummy Chronicles.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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5 Comments

  1. Nicely stated, Victoria. My wife and I have used the Britax Marathon in her car since our daughter graduated from her infant seat, and your comments about ease of use and child comfort are spot-on. Our daughter is much more comfortable in the Marathon than in the Graco ComfortSport installed in our second car. As you said, the Maration a great example of paying a bit higher price for a much safer and more convenient-to-use product.

  2. I’m a convert to the Marathon too. My son enjoys travel in my M3 (trying to instill good values in him from an early age) a lot more sitting in the Marathon, and the seat is a lot easier to adjust and mess around with.

  3. My wife and I are 8 weeks away from the drop date so this is good information to have.

  4. Great information! We have two identical Graco convertibles (not sure of the model anymore) and our son is OK with them, but if I had to do it again, I probably would have researched more thoroughly. Lots of people we know have Britax seats and love them.

  5. We had the Britax infant seat (there is NO better infant seat), and upgraded to this exact seat for a convertible. LOVE the Britax!!!

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